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Subject: Re: [wsrp] Dealing with unauthenticated users

How about we just carry this thread on the wsrp list rather than many people getting duplicate emails?

I think there are some significant issues with interpreting application data items as supplying security information rather than actually using whatever might be available from security subsystems. While on the surface your suggestion might appear reasonable, how does it play out against the standard man-in-the-middle attack mode that security people work hard to stop?

Rich Thompson

Michael Freedman <Michael.Freedman@oracle.com>

07/15/2003 03:27 PM

        To:        wsrp-interop <wsrp-interop@lists.oasis-open.org>
        cc:        WSRP <wsrp@lists.oasis-open.org>
        Subject:        [wsrp] Dealing with unauthenticated users

I have cc'd this e-mail to the entier list because I think folks might
be interested in general -- I apologize up front if this is something
you don't want to see.

We have discussed that though the specification doesn't define the
UserContext [userContextKey and userCategories] as carrying security
information, we expect some producers to use this application level
information to satisfy its needs.  Currently, the userContextKey is a
required field.  Hence the current way a consumer indicates it doesn't
know the users identity is by passing a null userContext.  This however
prevents the consumer from defining/mapping user categories to
unauthenticated/unknown users.  However consumers often represent this
class of user just so some control can be defined on this class.  For
example, control as represented by wsrp:minimal user category.  

So the questions is, do we want to support defining/using user
categories on public/guest users?  If so, how do we deal with the
producer/JSR 168 interoperability problem wherein the producer uses the
userContext/userContextKey field to establish whether its communicating
with an authenticated user [through its trust relationship with the
consumer]?  Wouldn't we need to define a special token value for
userContextKey that all producers could safely use to mean the
application hasn't established the identity of the user but oh by the
way here are the user categories that relate to anyonymous users?  I
would suggest we use the convention that an empty string "" as the
userContextKey indicates such a user.  What do others think?

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